Storm leaves Florida in holding pattern

This video grab made from satellite footage obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the eye of Hurricane Irma passing near the Florida Keys and above Cuba at 1147UTC
Uncertainty begins regarding Hurricane Jose's projected path
Author

13 September, 2017

Officials say the Keys "took the brunt of the hit" from Irma although residents - many of whom work in tourist resorts on the mainland - have been allowed to return to some islands.

This visible image of Category 4 Hurricane Jose was taken on Sunday Sept.10, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 UTC) by the NOAA GOES East satellite.

As Irma began moving into Georgia, a tornado spun off by the storm was reported on the coast, and firefighters inland had to rescue several people after trees fell on their homes. "We have no cell service, no electricity, and no water", Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers said. Massive flooding was reported in Jacksonville, and the extent of the damage in the vulnerable Keys was not known because numerous islands were inaccessible Monday.

"I didn't see the damage I thought I would see", he reported.

People have fled the Florida Keys region in about two dozen vehicles since Sunday.

Monroe County opened road access on Tuesday morning for residents and business owners from Key Largo, the main island at the upper end of the chain, as well as the towns of Tavernier and Islamorada farther to the south, fire officials said.

No timetable for reopening the rest of the Keys was given.

Beyersdorf and Jensen left northern Wisconsin on Friday morning and raced to southern Florida to be in place ahead of Irma's impact.

"It took a week for Matthew", Jensen said, referring to a hurricane that previous year did not make landfall in Florida but caused power outages. However, the once strongest storm in the history of Atlantic has caused a lot of trouble to the residents of the sunshine state.

"It's frightful, what we saw", Scott said.

Around the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, where Irma rolled through early Monday, damage appeared modest.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott mentioned the gravity of the situation at his daily news briefing Monday.

One man in SC was killed by a falling tree limb and another died in a traffic accident, officials said.

The storm knocked at least a million power customers offline in Georgia and the Carolinas, according to local utilities, while flooding downtown Charleston, S.C.

The National Hurricane Center has a page updating every few hours with the latest watches and warnings for Jose.

At 914 mb, Irma was the lowest pressure reached by an Atlantic hurricane outside of the western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico on record, and was the lowest minimum central pressure since Hurricane Dean in 2007.


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